Kuwait government resigns in row over monarchy


Kuwaiti policewomen perform during an officers graduation ceremony at the Saad Al-Abdullah Academy for Security Sciences in Kuwait City on March 29, 2011.


Yasser al-Zayyat

Kuwait’s government has quit en masse in a dispute over the performance of several ministers in dealing with uprising in Kuwait’s neighbor, Bahrain.

According to the Financial Times, lawmakers had sought to question three ministers for supposed errors in office, in particular Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah, over his failure to respond to pointed criticism of the ruling al-Sabah family on Bahraini state television last week.

The sectarian tensions behind Bahrain’s uprising — between the Shia majority and the Sunni royal family — are a sensitive matter in Kuwait, which also has a Sunni monarchy.

Saleh Ashour, a Kuwaiti lawmaker, reportedly described the televised attack as “aggression against the independence of the state of Kuwait.”

The Kuwait News Agency quoted cabinet minister Roudhan Al-Roudhan as saying the ministers resigned "following the recent local developments and their relevant negative aftershocks on the country's national unity, security and stability."

Kuwait is seen as unlikely to face a popular revolt, and its cabinets are regularly changed up, the Times wrote, adding that the latest episode underlines how even rich Gulf countries are feeling the instability sweeping the region.

Popular protests have forced the resignations of governments in Syria and Jordan, while leaving rulers in place, and ousted the presidents of Egypt and Tunisia. Libya, meanwhile, has descended into civil war.

Last month, Kuwaiti protesters demanding greater rights for longtime residents of the country clashed with security forces. Kuwait has been wrestling with the question of rights for its roughly 100,000 non-citizen residents for decades, according to CNN.

Kuwait's king Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has reportedly asking ministers to remain to form a caretaker government until a new cabinet was named.